30 July 2008

don't flush!

Your drugs that is... Since we're on the topic of medicine and waste, I thought it apropos to issue this reminder. When you want to dispose of expired or unused drugs, don't send them on their merry way down the toilet into sewageland. That drug-laced sewage ends up in our precious waterways, changing the sex of fish, or in the case of flushed Prozac, making fish too happy they forget to eat. Medical waste does all sorts of fun damage to the environment.

So what do you do with those old drugs? Some suggestions:

  • Contact your pharmacy -- they may have a drug recycling program
  • Call your local hazardous waste facility -- they may have recommendations for drug disposal [The New York State site here]
  • Smash the pills, put them back in their original container, and put that container in a sealable plastic bag. Throw it out with the trash. The problem here is that plastic doesn't degrade well, and once it does, that medicine is still finding its way out into the environment
Just remember, whatever you do, don't flush!

toxic gowanus hotbed of medical discovery

Ah, the Gowanus Canal, glowing radioactive green. Reflecting the scrap metal heap and its cranes, reminiscent of brontosaurus eating lunch. How can anyone not appreciate the toxic splendor of thee?

If you're not familiar with the much-discussed (at least in Brooklyn), much-joked-about waterway, here's a taste:
(MMmmm, delish!)

It turns out, surprisingly enough, oil slicks and various toxins aren't the only things swirling around in there. A team of researchers --New York City College of Technology Biology Professors Nasreen and Niloufar Haque -- has determined the Gowanus is a breeding ground for future medical agents, specifically antibiotics.

An excerpt:

"Despite the canal’s toxicity, which includes cancer-causing chemical agents,” explained Nasreen, “microorganisms are surviving by adapting to the harsh environment there that shouldn’t survive at all. Working in synergy, they seem to sense if nutrients are available; they exchange genes and secrete substances — some of which operate like antibiotics. I believe these substances may provide clues that lead to the development of new drugs to combat human disease.
Who knew?
Read the whole story here.

[Newswise via Gowanus Lounge]

summer sale @ kaight

Sorry for the brevity and infrequency of posts this week. The day job is keeping me busy. Just wanted to tell you about a sale at my favorite eco-boutique. Check it out: